Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 32

polymer prices

Prices surge amid tightness
and pandemic-driven buying

W

estern
European standard
thermoplastic
prices have risen at a much faster rate than
feedstock costs during the last
two months. Price hikes are
being driven by tight material availability, higher freight
rates due to shipping container
shortages and pandemic-driven stockpiling. The upward
price trend is set to continue at
least during the first quarter of
the year.
Polyethylene prices have
risen €190-195/tonne through
December and January compared to an €85/tonne rise in
ethylene costs. Polypropylene
prices have increased €180190/tonne during the same period against an €80/tonne rise
in propylene. PVC prices also
registered gains higher than the
proportionate impact of higher
ethylene costs. In December,
polystyrene prices surged well
ahead of styrene monomer
costs then tracked the feedstock cost rise in January.
PET prices nudged higher in
both December and January because of rising costs, low material availability and rising import
costs due to limited vessel availability and surging freight rates.
Polymer producers justified
the margin increases on tight
availability and higher prices in
other world regions.

Demand good
Demand was better than expected in December and January with stockpiling in the UK
and coronavirus-related stock
building on the continent. The
much higher prices did not deter buying, as converters' prime
aim was to secure volumes amid
uncertain times. Converters also
sought to buy additional material in anticipation of higher prices
in the months ahead.
Packaging and hygiene sector demand was lively due to
coronavirus-related lockdowns
being introduced across the

32

P032_P034_SP_20210209.indd 32

Sabic site at
Wilton, UK

Prices Monitor November 2019 - January 2021
2.0

PET

PVC LLDPE HDPE LDPE PP

PS

1.5

1.0

0.5

continent. Building and construction sector demand was
also quite strong. Meanwhile,
beverage market demand deteriorated due to the worsening
pandemic situation.

Supply tight
Supply constraints were evident across all European polymer markets over the last two
months. Several planned and
unplanned plant outages reduced material availability
while imports were lower than
normal. Tight global container
availability amid a heavy backlog in Asia led to increased lead

times, a steep rise in freight
rates, higher costs and a rise in
European polymer prices.
Some of the main production
issues since last December are
summarised below.
* An explosion, followed by
a fire, paralysed the plant for
styrene butadiene rubber from
emulsion polymerisation at Synthos Dwory, Poland 7 January
* Total lifted the force majeure 8 January for the production of polystyrene at its French
site in Carling
* Ineos called force majeure
10 December for acrylonitrile
from its German site in Cologne-Worringen

* Sabic extended its force
majeure 14 December for LDPE
from its British site in Wilton for
an indefinite
PET period
* A larger technical malfunction resulted in the complete
PVC
shutdown of all Saudi Ethylene
and Polyethylene plants in AlLLDPEArabia 4 December.
Jubail, Saudi
This not only affected the cracker
of the LyondellBasell,
Rotterdam
HDPE
joint venture with Arab partners
Tasnee LDPE
Petrochemicals and Sahara Petrochemical, but also two
downstream PE facilities
PP
* Kem One conducted maintenance at its Balan PVC plant
PS in the latter part of
in France
December. The plant reopened
a week later. PVC producers;
Shin Etsu and Inovyn also lifted
force majeures.

February outlook
The upward price trend is set
to continue through the rest of
January and into February. Supply shortages and market tightness is unlikely to abate any
time soon with several cracker
and polymer plants undergoing
maintenance. Imports are also
dwindling due to tight container
availability, rising freight costs
and renewed outages at some
PE plants in the US. Demand is
likely to be resilient with buyers
prepared to pay higher prices in
order to secure volume.

January/February 2021

1/29/21 12:18 PM



Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021

Contents
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - Cover1
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - Cover2
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - Contents
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 4
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 5
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 6
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 7
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 8
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 9
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 10
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 11
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 12
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 13
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 14
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 15
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 16
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 17
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 18
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 19
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 20
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 21
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 22
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 23
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 24
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 25
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 26
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 27
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 28
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 29
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 30
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 31
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 32
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 33
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 34
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - Cover3
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - Cover4
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